05 February 2006

toddler prayers

toddler prayers

An overly tired Claire threw a pretty raucous tantrum just as we were trying to get her down for the night, including everything from shredding tissues to expressing a desire for our untimely deaths.

Actually, death has been a recent preoccupation, ranging from finally figuring out what happened to Bambi's mother to dreams of ravenous snow wolves killing bad men. One would think we've been letting her watch slasher films or the like, but this is almost entirely her own imagination. I think, however, that we've managed to finally get across the idea of "inanimate objects," which, I hope, will help us avoid those uneasy looks we would get from restuarant servers when Claire held up her favorite blanket and announced that, sadly, it's dead.

At any rate, she finally calmed down this evening to the "low whimper" stage, accompanied by eye-rubbing and blanket cuddling. As she curled up into bed I began to pray with her, but she stopped me, saying, "I want to say my own prayer."

"Ok, that's great. Go ahead."

"Keep watch, dear Lord," she began, "with those who sleep this night. And may it snow during the night and may we wake up. And mommy and daddy wake up too. And we all go outside and make a snowman under your loving care. And may God bless us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen."

"That was a beautiful prayer, Claire," I said.

"Wait," she interrupted, "I'm not done...and may the stars shine in the sky, so that their light shines in our eye...ummm."

"You know, Claire, prayers don't have to rhyme," I suggested.

"Oh, ok. I'm done." She looked at me for a moment and then began to cry.

"What's wrong, sweetheart?" I asked.

"I don't want to grow up. I want to always, always stay a little girl!" She fell over and sobbed into her pillow.

I rubbed her back. "You're not going to grow up for a long time, Claire..."

"But I don't want to!"

I decided to try a different approach, "Why don't you want to grow up?"

"I don't want to grow up because Jesus loves the little children and I want Jesus to still love me," she sobbed.

"Oh, sweetheart," I smiled at her, "Jesus loves grown-ups too, just as much as he loves little girls." The sobs subsided. "Now go to sleep," I said before giving her a goodnight kiss and shutting the door.

Of course, if the past week is any indication, Claire will awaken and silently slip downstairs at 6am or so and go back to sleep in some other location, later to be disclosed. So far we've found her in the morning asleep under a desk, behind a recliner, on our floor, on a step, and in the dog's bed. While we've discouraged this, the prospect of waking up to a new round of "where's Claire" does keep life interesting.